Weekend roundup: reach vs revenue, the cost of doing greater things and optimizing your career

Happy Saturday.

And hello from Washington, DC. It’s good to be home.

  1. “25 people. 4 of them — FOUR — are the president-elect’s children.” [Link] [Tweet]

I (along with most of the tech sector) might be living in a bubble but why aren’t more people outraged by this?

The President-elect is openly putting his children (and who run his businesses in a “not-so-blind trust”) into meetings they wouldn’t ordinarily get on their own.

If Malia or Chelsea were sitting at those tables a few years ago, those two Presidents would have had a shitstorm on their hands. For this guy, we — as a country — seem to be letting him get away with anything.

2. “I should be constantly learning, and I should be happy and fulfilled in that role.” [Link] [Tweet]

One bit came from Peter Pham who told me to go work for a market leader, whatever role that happened to be, it just needed to be the top in their category.

Far too many people decide to start their own thing before gaining any real experience. Unless you can emotionally explain why you care so much about the problem you’re trying to solve, you’re better off working elsewhere.

3. “Natural selection no longer determines how man evolves. Man does – through innovation.” [Link] [Tweet]

Science has given us medicines that have doubled our average lifespan. Technology has given us the means to scale large organizations such as police forces, courts and jails. Violence has decreased a hundred fold; today less than 1 in 100,000 people are murdered. Those would have died from ailments or been killed in the past now live long lives, resulting in swelling ranks of elderly. There is little to no selection at all.

4. “Hours are never the differentiator — it’s never about working more hours than someone else.” [Link[Tweet]

People make it because they’re talented, they’re lucky, they’re in the right place at the right time, they know how to work with other people, they know how to sell, they know what moves people, they can tell a story, they can see the big and small picture in every situation, and they know how to do something with an opportunity. And so many other reasons. Working harder than other people is not the reason.

 5. “I view the reach vs. revenue conundrum as a spectrum of options ” [Link] [Tweet]

The key phrase here is spectrum of options.

There are two things to consider as you decide where your own company should be on that spectrum:

  • How much access to capital do you have? If you’ve got the ability to keep your company running without new revenue coming in the door, you should consider leaning towards more reach.
  • What is the key metric of success for your business? Aside from revenue, there’s probably some measure of usage (eg, “user completes an action”) that is strongly correlated to your future ability to monetize them. If you know that metric, it’s probably worth leaning towards revenue.

I wish there was a perfect answer for everyone but — based on all the business mistakes I’ve made over the years — I’ll tell you what’s right for me: lean towards revenue whenever you’re in doubt.

Do yourself a favor: get a cup of coffee and read this post in it’s entirety. It’s a solid 14 minutes but it’s well worth it — especially if you’re currently in the early part of your own business.

6. “In order to do greater things, you are going to piss people off or ostracize yourself.” [Link] [Tweet]

I envy people that have found a way to perfectly balance work, life and all the relationships that come with them. I haven’t figured it out and, to be honest, sometimes I think that’s the price I have to pay for my freedom.

Entrepreneurship (the version of it we live in SF) is isolating and lonely at so many times. And in my opinion, it’s unavoidable, but rewarding in a way that I cannot describe. You must be prepared to lose things that are important to you in the pursuit of it.

7. “By all appearances, we’re in a golden age of innovation.” [Link] [Tweet]

Outside of personal technology, improvements in everyday life have been incremental, not revolutionary. Houses, appliances and cars look much like they did a generation ago. Airplanes fly no faster than in the 1960s. None of the 20 most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. came to market in the past decade.

The innovation slump is a key reason the American standards of living have stagnated since 2000. Indeed, absent a turnaround, that stagnation is likely to continue, deepening the malaise that has left the middle class so dissatisfied.

8. “Half a century ago, the entirety of ARPANET, predecessor of the internet, was 45 computers connected to 40 nodes.” [Link] [Tweet]

How far we’ve come: I wouldn’t be surprised if there were 40+ nodes in the average household these days — between phones, Nests, cameras and all the other connected devices we all own.

9. “Explain where the company will be in 18–24 months, how you plan to use the money and how that changes over time.” [Link] [Tweet]

Pro tip: if you find yourself talking about your product for more than 50% of any investor meeting, you blew it.

10. “Early in your career you should be optimizing for two things: learning and building your network.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re considering a future job in VC, apply for — and do anything it takes to get into — the AngelList Analyst Program.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


Weekend roundup: the speed of learning, what to read every morning and understanding the lifestyle of building a business.

Happy Saturday.

Hello from Orlando, FL where we’re blowing off some steam after wrapping up the 2016 tech tour. Fun fact: this was my first visit to Disney World and IT IS AMAZING.

Wichita, KS was the 41st stop of the tech tour and it was the best way to wrap up this year. [RECAP VIDEO] We’re going to take the next couple of weeks to rest, recharge, catch up on emails and nail down the 2017 tour. We’re definitely doing this again.

  1. “I now see it’s not speed of doing that matters. It’s speed of learning.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is a sobering look at what happens when you try to grow a bit too fast. To be fair though, 99% of the companies we meet aren’t growing fast enough — or at all.

It’s a fuzzy line but it’s better to be growing too fast (so you can pull back) than to be growing too slow. Default to fast.

2. “I will only meet people who genuinely give a shit about what I do.” [Link] [Tweet]

If someone shoves a business card at you before they learn at least one thing about you, they’re not that interested in you.

3. What do Elite Venture Investors Read Every Morning? [Link] [Tweet]

Email newsletters are the morning newspapers of our generation. I made a quick list of things you should skim every morning.

4. “there is zero correlation between how much money goes into a company and its exit value.” [Link[Tweet]

Many of the founders I meet — especially outside of Silicon Valley — don’t seem to understand that an investor’s fund size usually dictates the minimum size they want you to reach.

Big funds need big exits. Small funds don’t mind smaller exits. It’s a bit more complicated than that in real life but that’s the gist.

5. “I know a lot of companies that failed due to lack of focus.” [Link] [Tweet]

I know a lot of companies that failed due to lack of focus. I can’t think of one that failed because they were too focused.

I can openly admit that nearly every failure I’ve experienced over the past few years was directly related to my own lack of focus.

I’ve got the same 24 hours in the day as you.

Do one thing well and don’t do anything else until you can get that one thing turned into a business that can run reasonably well whenever you’re not involved. Then — and only then — you can start to experiment with other things.

6. “Tesla spends $6 on advertising for every car sold (compared to the $2k+ that Lincoln spends per car).” [Link] [Tweet]

Most purchases (and investments) are emotional, not rational.

7. “Find (hunt down) people who are currently practicing but are not blogging about it” [Link] [Tweet]

For anyone currently looking for growth hacks online, stop reading blogs. Think about it: no one reasonable would openly talk about a good growth hack until it stops working for them.

By the time you read about it, the experts have moved on to the next thing and won’t tell you about it until they’ve exploited it.

The point is that you should be paying attention to what people do, not what they say.

8. “Whether bootstrapped or funded, there is nothing easy about the lifestyle of building a business.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m not sure why people talk about venture-funded companies as it they’re somehow better than their bootstrapped counterparts.

When you’re bootstrapped, you can pretty much do anything you want as long as you continue to grow your revenue. When you’re venture-funded, there are only three ways off the “venture treadmill” itself: M&A, IPO or failing.

9. “It now takes much less time to self-fund a SaaS business to profitability.” [Link] [Tweet]

One of the hardest things about the tech tour has been repeatedly noticing that the “common sense” people have in the Valley isn’t quite common everywhere else.

99% of what people need to know about growing their business is already online.

10. “People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is one of the most balanced things I’ve read about the recent election. Technology is moving faster than ever and the people being left in the wake have few ways to re-invent themselves.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


Friday roundup: the real value in life, getting a jolt of the unfamiliar and the lack of a Midwestern startup network.

Happy Friday.

I’m thankful for another Thanksgiving filled with fun, laughter, food and family. Today, we’re starting the drive towards the next tour stop: Wichita, KS. See you out on the road this weekend!

  1. “The real value in life comes from saying no.” [Link] [Tweet]

I openly admit that I’ve said ‘yes’ to far too many things. As a result, my inbox is constantly piling up and managing my own anxiety has been one of the biggest professional challenges for me this year.

I’ve resorted to ‘no’ as my default answer, I’m using Asana to organize my to-do list and getting better about sticking to my calendar.

On a related note, saying ‘no’ is something you can only do once you’ve reached a certain point in your career and not enough people talk about that openly.

2. “You took all the right pictures, but were you really ever there?” [Link] [Tweet]

You’ll get a good laugh (and reconsider your Thanksgiving-related social media posts) while you read this.

3. “Be technical, be customer-focused, be process-oriented, be data-driven and be interdisciplinary.” [Link] [Tweet]

My #1 advice for anyone starting their careers today — regardless of whether they choose to work at a startup or a huge enterprise — is to optimize for a role that allows you to see and touch as many parts of the business as possible.

Learn how all the pieces of a business fit together and you’ll quickly become more valuable than most.

4. “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.” [Link[Tweet]

This is your entrepreneurial pep talk for the weekend.

5. “power down your smartphone, close your browser tabs, roll up your sleeves and get to work.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you can ignore the clickbait headline on the article, you’ll find the more important point: you need to be able to focus on one thing from time to time.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this idea of keeping your head in the clouds and your hands in the dirt. The best people have the ability to do both of those things from time to time.

6. “Don’t seek comfort. You need to give yourself a jolt of the unfamiliar.” [Link] [Tweet]

Apparently, everyone’s in the mood for entrepreneurial pep talks this weekend. Here’s a second one for you. (As a reminder, this link round up is a compilation of the highest clicked links in my firehose each week. So, this is pretty much what all of you are clicking on these days.)

7. “They may like the product, but their first love will be the economics.” [Link] [Tweet]

A long time ago, I stopped trying to judge people ideas — because I was usually wrong. I don’t think enough people admit that we’re all terrible at picking ideas.

8. “The best jobs are the ones that have not already been put on a job board. [Link] [Tweet]

The best jobs come through the side entrance, not the front lobby. That’s why you need to keep putting yourself out there. Welcome to the resume of 2016 and beyond.

9. “Wantchapreneuers are attracted to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, but they aren’t inherently entrepreneurs.” [Link] [Tweet]

Entrepreneurship is hard to teach but easy to learn. It’s a bit like working out: you only get stronger/faster by actually doing the work itself.

Stop reading this stuff and get back to work.

10. “There is no Midwestern network, no central spot where startups can gather.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is one of the best written peices I’ve seen about a cross-country road trip and the characters you meet along the way. More importantly, he’s right: Midwestern cities have a lot of intra-city resources for their entrepreneurs but very little in terms of inter-city networks.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


Friday roundup: hardware as a service, learning from your own mistakes and what founders should worry about.

Happy Friday.

It’s been three years since I’ve been to Columbus, OH and things seem to have come a long, long way. Between the accelerators, coworking spaces, code schools and venture firms (big and small), it seems like it might just be one of the easiest places to start your business.

On a couple of personal notes:

If you’re new this week, these are the top 10 clicks across my tweets this week. You can always get the full firehose here.

  1. “From now on, I won’t be building any more native apps.” [Link] [Tweet]

Less apps, more businesses. Kthx.

2. “Consumers might object, of course. But they might not.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’ll admit that I’m not well-versed in hardware / IoT companies — mostly because the cash required to get off the ground is more than I generally have to invest at the early stage.

That being said, the idea of selling hardware / IoT as a service is worth a deeper dive. I know I’d be much more likely to buy them.

3. “Want to really change the world? Be brave and start your next company in the Midwest.” [Link] [Tweet]

Having visited 41 cities this year, I couldn’t agree more. You don’t need to be in Silicon Valley / NYC to build a meaningful company.

4. “Just say no to grabbing coffee” [Link[Tweet]

If your only excuse for not starting something — even on the side — is not having time, you’re lying to yourself.

5. “What I see, consistently, very few companies raise a Series A after a Seed. There’s always another Seed.” [Link] [Tweet]

If I had a penny for every time a founder said “we’ll be profitable in six months,” I’d never have to work a day in my life. Welcome to the real world:

What I see very consistently is second Seed rounds. Financing is not a dot, it is a line and it is part of your job as a founder and a business leader to keep the capital coming in. If it was a world with just Seed, then Series A and then Series B, it would make everyone’s life easier.

6. “Start a company, and start learning from your own mistakes.” [Link] [Tweet]

Here’s a challenge: next time you have a question or idea, take the first step at figuring it out before you start asking other people for advice.

The alternative is what most people do: they start by asking other people for opinions — which are usually useless (or, worse, wrong).

7. “Ultimately the interim, or even ultimate, valuation of venture-funded companies is not what matters.” [Link] [Tweet]

My hope is that a re-focus on realized returns by financing round will help us return to more capital- efficient investing and management. Shouldn’t we celebrate the entrepreneurs and VCs, for example, in an investment that generates a 15X return on a $200M exit more than we do an investment in a Unicorn that generates a 2X return?

I find it fitting that unicorns are mythical creatures while the Triple Crown is real. Unicorns are overrated. Triple Crowns are better.

8. “Startup communities around the world are leveling up.” [Link] [Tweet]

Talent and ambition seem to be equally distributed around the country — access to capital and functional expertise is what’s missing. I’m going to start testing a couple of ideas to help fix that gap. (If you manage a coworking space or accelerator, please email me. I’d love to run a quick idea by you.)

9. “A resume is ineffective at finding the best employees.” [Link] [Tweet]

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that’s said, “you should see this resume — it’s amazing.”

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to worry about your resume. Instead, you should be thinking about what people are finding about you when they Google your name.

Do interesting things, write about them and keep repeating it.

10. “I’m a big advocate for revenue first, fundraise later.” [Link] [Tweet]

Most startups die because nobody wants what they’re making. This is the existential threat early. If they get past this, they die from lack of execution, so team matters big time.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


Friday roundup: the ultimate growth hack, trusting your gut and emphasizing distribution.

Happy Friday.

DC’s been an interesting (read: weird) place this week: Trump’s motorcade rolled into the White House yesterday. I’m still processing.

If you’re new this week, these are the top 10 clicks across my tweets this week. You can always get the full firehose here.

  1. “the ultimate growth hack is a love for your craft, and a willingness to immerse yourself in the details” [Link] [Tweet]

When you’re starting something new, you’ll know if you’re going to fail within a few weeks (even if you don’t admit it to yourself) but you won’t know if you’re going to succeed for years.

If you meet anyone that’s successful, you’ll quickly notice that they’re always in it for the long haul and they care about the details. It’s the why of the thing that drives them, even if they can’t articulate it themselves.

2. “The people who live in these places aren’t stupid.” [Link] [Tweet]

There’s a lot about this election that doesn’t sit well with me (more on that in a later blog post) but this piece sums it up: each side never took the time to listen to the other. It was far too easy to just assume that the other side was dumb, disconnected and just plain wrong.

If you can spare a couple days in 2017, join us on the tech tour. You’ll quickly notice that the vast majority of Trump voters aren’t racist, misogynists and homophobes that finally found the candidate that said what was on their mind. In fact, they’re hard working people that feel so disconnected from the rest of us that they were willing to look past Trumps misteps (and there were many) to finally have their own voice heard.

3. “It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.” [Link] [Tweet]

Why not leave the country? But despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.

4. “When somebody calls, I can usually tell within two or three minutes whether a deal is likely to happen or not.” [Link[Tweet]

Trust your gut. Then do your homework.

5. “Startups are overdosing on ambition these days.” [Link] [Tweet]

If more founders would start with the goal of making $1,000/month in revenue, the better off they’ll be in the long run.

In the worst case, they’ve got an extra $1,000/month to spend as they see fit and a side project to showcase their talent. In the best case, they’ve got the base necessary to scale to $10,000/month or more.

Focus on making your first buck, then add a zero. Then repeat infinitely.

6. “On the Internet, no one really cares about you when you’re small.” [Link] [Tweet]

Distribution of your product is probably more important than the product itself.

7. “One of the odd aspects of modern air travel is that it’s not really getting any faster.” [Link] [Tweet]

I grew up in Northern Virginia watching the Concorde takeoff and land at Dulles Airport. I miss those days.

8. “Deep inside a Silicon Valley unicorn lurks a time bomb.” [Link] [Tweet]

The only people that want (and need) unicorns are VCs with huge funds. Everyone else, for the most part, is just trying to build something important.

9. “The tricky part isn’t the technical stuff… it’s the customer stuff.” [Link] [Tweet]

One of my favorite investments on the tech tour was a company that sold ten customers a product before they wrote their first line of code.

I wish more entrepreneurs would think like them.

10. “there’s nothing quite so rare or sexy as proving your product market fit with decent traction.” [Link] [Tweet]

I met Mac during our stop in Knoxville, TN last month. I owe him a call still (sorry Mac!) but he took the time to write down all the things we talked about during office hours.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


Friday roundup: 127 things entrepreneurs should know, the importance of timing and investing in yourself.

Happy Friday.

It’s been nice to get some downtime in DC this week. We’re heads down planning the 2017 tour and knocking out a huge backlog of investments. (If you’re still waiting on an email from me, sorry!) 

In case you’re wondering, here’s a quick wrap-up of our visit to Fort Wayne, IN last week and the audio from a radio interview.

As a reminder, these are the top 10 clicks across my tweets this week. You can always get the full firehose here.

  1. “Here lies the billable hour. It died a slow and predictable death, brought about by natural causes.” [Link] [Tweet]

    Everyone charging by the hour should be worried about what will happen to their jobs — and the broader industry — over the next few years.

    Lawyers and accountants should be fine though since there’s always a need for someone to keep you out of jail and count your money properly.

2. Things I will tell my kids if they become entrepreneurs [Link] [Tweet]

Love, love, love this but everyone has to be thinking like an entrepreneur.

When I was going through school, there was a job waiting for me when I graduated. For people graduating today, they need to be prepared to create their own job.

3. “get to $1,000/month in revenue and then worry about everything else.” [Link] [Tweet]

Until you have a little bit of revenue (or, in some cases, at least a little bit of traction), nothing else matters. So stop thinking about logos, domain names, business plans or anything else. Just sell.

4. “Hustle doesn’t mean working 24/7. That’s a sure way to burn out and lose.” [Link[Tweet]

There are two kinds of entrepreneurial people you want to work with in your life:

  • Smart and hard-working. These people tend to be the best at build service / consulting companies.
  • Smart and lazy. These people tend to be the best at building a company around a product.

I prefer to invest in the latter.

5. “In 10 years Goldman Sachs will be significantly smaller by head count than it is today.” [Link] [Tweet]

Personally I’m a techno-optimist, in the sense that I believe technology grows the overall pie and provides over time, great opportunity for human beings in terms of quality of life, economic mobility and so on.

6. “One of the biggest challenges in tech is not being right. It’s being ten or fifteen years too early.” [Link] [Tweet]

As with most trends, you want to be early and right or late and right. Everything in the middle sucks.

7. “I began to see it everywhere I looked: too many startups like to play startup.” [Link] [Tweet]

Once a startup has $1 of revenue, it should never be called a startup again. You should be starting a company to actually build a company, not to be a startup forever.

8. “Let now be the time where we stop fantasising with the facade of overnight success and start hustling” [Link] [Tweet]

We’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of extremely successful people building huge companies in out-of-the-way places. The best part of those meetings, however, is listening to the founder’s real stories of the “10 year overnight success.” (Heading into 2017, we’re going to experiment with videos and other content to help share those stories.)

9. “I had the luxury of this decision because I had decided to invest in myself. So, I doubled down.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’ve been self-employed ever since. Monetarily, was it the best investment I could have made? If I had been interested in working at P&G, I doubt it. But, in terms of freedom to follow my curiosities and carve my own path, yes, 1000x.

When it comes to your professional life, always choose yourself. Always invest in yourself.

10. “No one needs another piece of business software. No one.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is the #1 problem technical people have with sales: people buy solutions, not products.

No one cares how many features you have, how many lines of code it took or how “passionate” you are about the business.

Solve problems. People will pay you for it.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


Self-driving beer deliveries, the trade-offs in VC and how to understand the Valley

Happy Friday.

It’s been a busy (and cold) week here in Fort Wayne, IN. Aside from meeting entrepreneurs, investors and the rest of the tech community, we’re heavy into the 2017 Tech Tour planning. Yay, spreadsheets (and Asana)! If you’re an investor, executive or community leader that would like to visit other cities with us, please apply to join — it’ll be fun, I promise.

  1. Uber has quietly launched its own ‘Uber for trucking’ marketplace called Uber Freight [Link] [Tweet]

    They deliver 45,000 cans of beer via a self-driving 18-wheeler and launch a marketplace for freight in the same week. Meanwhile, I can barely stay on top of my email.

The way we think about the future is two things: marketplace and automation. And that will apply on the consumer side and the freight side.

2. “the distance will increase 1000km and the flight will be 1-3 hours shorter than the polar route.” [Link] [Tweet]

Long haul flights have always been my favorite — don’t ask me why, I just love them.

3. “He’s in over his head and he’s proudly done zero to gain any relevant expertise.” [Link] [Tweet]

And just like that, you’ve got one, single, unifying theory that explains everything about Trump, the debates, and this election: Donald Trump is terrified of actually becoming president. And he hates Hillary because she isn’t.

4. “VC is not about making the best analysis. VC is a job where trade-offs are kings.” [Link[Tweet]

Investing in companies outside of existing tech hubs is hard. In addition to vetting the founders, the business and everything else in between, you’re trying to gauge the founding team’s ability to raise even more external capital in the future.

5. “To understand the serendipity of the Valley you need to get to the people.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s a desert for those who don’t know anyone and a monsoon for the networked. A place where meritocracy has a shot vs. street smarts and monopolizing darwinism.

6. “China has now overtaken the U.S. to become the largest market in the world for App Store revenue” [Link] [Tweet]

In case you’re looking for more customers, “China will drive the largest absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020.”

7. “I remind myself to be kind and see the potential in people. Give them a break.” [Link] [Tweet]


8. “Being believable isn’t just convincing people you can win, it’s convincing them that they want you to win.” [Link] [Tweet]

The RIBS method is pretty much the best. If you want to convince anyone of anything, it needs to be Relevant, Inevitable, Believable and Simple.

9. “Every millennial should be planning for a 100-year horizon.” [Link] [Tweet]

You don’t think you’re actually going to retire anymore, do you?

10. “The reason is that we somehow feel we have to be different people in different situations. But that’s a lie.” [Link] [Tweet]

Gary Vaynerchuk always advocates for playing to your strengths instead of improving your weaknesses. I love that.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


How startups will transform local economies, where 75% of investor dollars go and how to think about your career.

Happy Friday.

We’re on our way to Ft Wayne, IN for the week — if you’re nearby, please come hang with us. As for 2017, we’ve started to book stops in Sioux Falls, Lubbock, Oklahoma City and a few others — let us know if you’d like to bring us to your town. If you’re an investor, executive or community leader that would like to visit other cities with us, please apply to join — it’ll be fun, I promise.

It’s a cool week here in DC and, to be honest, it’s nice to be home for once. That being said, we’re starting to lock in stops for the 2017 tech tour so let me know if you’re interested in letting us pull the Airstream to your city and hang out for a bit.

  1. “You’re busy, so I’ll keep this quick.” [Link] [Tweet]

There is an inverse correlation between the length of your requests and the likelihood that you’ll get what you want. Keep everything short.

2. “Apple is the world’s largest owner of CNC milling machines and swiss style lathes.” [Link] [Tweet]

Apple operates acres and acres of CNC machines to meet the demand of 1M phones per day.

Between data centers that serve the information we see every day and the facilities that actually make the things that we carry around in our pockets every day, it’s fascinating to realize how little we ever think about them.

3. “75% of the investment $$ went into graduates of four programs: @ycombinator, @techstars, @500Startups & @angelpad.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re applying to an accelerator and can get into one of the four above, do it — no matter what. If you don’t make the cut, accept the best offer you can get and work your ass off.

4. You guys, how good is SNL going to be this weekend? [Tweet]

Ezra Klein nails it.

5. “My thesis is that five $10 million companies could transform our economy.” [Link] [Tweet]


Talent and ambition are equally distributed. Functional expertise and venture capital are not. This is why we’re doing the tech tour: it’s about bringing functional expertise and venture capital to cities that don’t normally receive it.

6. “Investors are NOT funding a startup for it to survive, but rather for it to thrive.” [Link] [Tweet]

A trick question I like to ask companies that I’ve invested in: “so, how much runway do you have now?”

At the earliest stage of the company, the only correct answer is related to the number of iterations you’re able to try before running out of cash.

7. “The problem … is we think technology can only be new.” [Link] [Tweet]

Let’s not confuse innovation with technology:

Old planes are familiar, reliable, and trusted, but they require constant attention to keep in working order. The work of maintenance is essential, but invisible, the costs recorded as “depreciation” or “overhead.” Politicians and CEOs scramble to claim credit for their investments in R&D, but technicians, mechanics, and janitors keep the world running. By confusing the history of innovation with the history of technology, Edgerton argues, we not only miss this labor, but also we misunderstand the work of scientists and engineers.

8. “VCs have a portfolio, entrepreneurs get one shot (at a time)” [Link] [Tweet]

Read this article over your next cup of coffee, it’s a fascinating study. As they say, amount of capital raised is a vanity metric.

9. “The people in SF think you’re not as good, because if you were, you would already live in SF.” [Link] [Tweet]

This attitude, primarily within the SF tech community, was the primary reason I moved back to DC. It felt too disconnected from the rest of the world.

10. “I’m worried too many millennials look at our work — as just work.” [Link] [Tweet]

Cal Newport, I believe, once said that being successful was about being good at something, that you like doing and that a lot of other people want.

I think the real problem here is that too many millennials have accepted jobs because of the money rather than the career potential. You can always buy the BMW later, but you can’t get your earliest professional years back.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.


What startups should actually celebrate, why non-tech people keep talking about manufacturing jobs & the 10X mentality.

Happy Friday.

It’s a cool week here in DC and, to be honest, it’s nice to be home for once. That being said, we’re starting to lock in stops for the 2017 tech tour so let me know if you’re interested in letting us pull the Airstream to your city and hang out for a bit.

In other news, we finally got around to updating the website. What do you think? 

  1. “Don’t blame the playa, blame the game.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s probably fair to say that most investors don’t appreciate (or remember?) the struggle that entrepreneurs face when trying to get their business off the ground.

It’s also probably fair to say that most entrepreneurs spend exactly zero minutes trying to understand how investors think or how the distribution of returns typically work for any set of investments.

2. “The simplest explanation for my departure is money, or, more accurately, the lack of it.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is one of the best written pieces I’ve ever read on the topic of moving from the “big city” to someplace in the Midwest.

I think it’s harder to start your career outside of certain larger cities but, once you’ve gained a bit of experience, there’s no reason why you can’t move to someplace more affordable to continue your career.

3. “There are basically four strategies that a couple can practice at a restaurant.” [Link] [Tweet]

In case you’re wondering:

A communist economy is a terrible idea. A communist dinner table, on the other hand, truly is a bounteous paradise.

4. “Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is your pep talk for the week.

5. “You should celebrate any day that you don’t have to sell off another part of your company.” [Link] [Tweet]

This entire article reads like satire until you start recognizing that uncomfortable feeling inside you that says “this is all so true.”

6. “Asking for advice is lazy is because you can’t build a business or career or a life on everybody else’s opinions.” [Link] [Tweet]

I recorded this interview while visiting Syracuse on the tech tour earlier this year. It looks a lot more coherent in text than it felt while I was rambling across the table to the reporter.

7. “If you want to survive, don’t just build a network. You have to build a hive, and eventually a hivemind.” [Link] [Tweet]

As we begin locking in the 2017 tech tour stops, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this same idea. Stay tuned, I think I have an idea…

8. “in early-stage, he needs to see 5x, but most funds are just gunning for 3x.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re looking for a quick pulse of what GPs and LPs are thinking these days, this is for you.

9. “there can be no revival of American manufacturing, because there has been no collapse.” [Link] [Tweet]


If you consider yourself part of the tech community, you’re not surprised by the rise of coworking spaces, accelerators and code schools all over the country.

If you’re trying to help build your tech community, however, it’s worth reading this piece to better understand why our elected leaders hang on to manufacturing and other “low tech” jobs.

Pro tip: when you head to your next tech event, try to convince one of your “non-tech” friends to join you. That’s the best way to reduce the divide between the tech and non-tech communities.

10. “What if we came out clean and acknowledged that we’re not making enough money?” [Link] [Tweet]

Less grinfucking, more real talk. Kthx.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.


Your career as a startup, learning to set boundaries and one of my biggest frustrations with the tech tour this year

Happy Friday.

Despite Hurricane Matthew barreling down on us in Wilmington, NC this week, we still managed to pull off three solid days of keynotes, panels and office hours with a few hundred entrepreneurs and investors. Next stop, Fort Wayne, IN in a few weeks.

Thanks to everyone that offered help / connections to WordPress developers last week, the response was overwhelming but I think I’m all set. 

  1. “Apple included an FPGA chip inside its latest iPhone” [Link] [Tweet]

As far as I know, the iPhone 7 is the only phone on the market with a FPGA on board. That’s a pretty big deal.

In phones that don’t contain FPGA chips on board, the only way to upgrade the chips / circuits is to replace them entirely (or just buy a newer phone). Now that the FPGA is included in the iPhone 7, Apple could create entirely new functionality by updating chips via software.

2. “being at the right startup is far more important than your role in the startup and how much stock you own.” [Link] [Tweet]

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t always mean you have to start something. Whether you sit in a cubicle or are tinkering with your next product, it’s important to think of your own career as a startup itself.

3. “Stop when you are going good.” [Link] [Tweet]

I used to think about work obsessively. During the day. Before bed. Through the weekend. In the shower. All. The. Time.

The stress was awful.

Boundaries are a good thing. Learn to set them as early as you can.

4. “to accelerate your timelines of learning & experiences, invest more hours than your peers to get them earlier.” [Link] [Tweet]

In our parents’ generation, experience was a function of how many years they worked. In our generation, experience is a function of how many things you try.

5. “Yes, it is possible. There is still time to stop a man who keeps stooping lower. That time is now.” [Link] [Tweet]

Last week, a number of you replied to explain your reasoning for voting Trump. (Thanks.) My response, bluntly: Ugh.

Neither candidate is perfect. Neither candidate has a spotless track record. Neither candidate will make everyone happy.

But, for those of us with children, do we really want our kids looking up to someone that (despite his own denials even in the presence of actual video recordings) openly suggests racism, sexism and violence?

6. “Businesses would be easy to run if the most important thing were the only thing we have to do.” [Link] [Tweet]

There’s a million things to do every day — regardless of whether you’re working on your own company or at someone else’s.

I’m a huge believer that everyone ought to have one core number they watch daily. If you’re working on something that doesn’t somehow result in that one core number moving, it might not be worth doing.

7. Instead of talking about innovation, we should be talking about entrepreneurship. [Link] [Tweet]

8. “mobile photography is finally changing from ‘camera you can carry around’ to mobile, computed photography.” [Link] [Tweet]

Camera phones FTW.

Quick poll: iPhone 7 or iPhone 7+ and why?

9. “What Palmer did was risky, even a bit reckless. It paid off, though.” [Link] [Tweet]

So why did he do it?

It was about respect. He believed he deserved it. He believed his fellow touring pros deserved it. They were better at their jobs than nearly everyone in the world was at theirs, and they ought to be treated that way. Someone had to take a stand.

Palmer went on to build an empire.

10. “The era of “tech companies” is over; there are only ‘companies’, steeped in technology, that will survive.” [Link] [Tweet]

One of my frustrations on the tech tour this year has been meeting elected officials in various cities throughout the US and Canada. In one breath, they’ll complain about not having enough technology companies in their area. In another breath, they’ll chuckle about something related to how little they know about Twitter, email or some other technology.

Leaders of companies and communities should be the first adopters of new tools.



You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.